How to Implement Sales Qualified Lead Reports

In marketing automation, Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) that the sales team accepts. After an MQL becomes an SQL, it is out of the hands of the marketing team and all reporting is based on the sales opportunity stage until closed.

Work with your sales team to craft an SQL workflow. Let them know how they will receive MQL leads, where to mark them as accepted or rejected, and what to do with the SQL lead after they get it. Usually, these parameters are up to you to dictate and set up.

To mark the MQL leads as SQL, most companies use a field in the customer relationship management (CRM) tool that is synced back to the marketing automation tool. Lead Status is a good field to use for this purpose.

Basics of an SQL report

The SQL report tells you how efficient you are at creating leads for the sales team. Your MQL report lets you know how many you are creating, but SQL reporting lets you know whether the sales team agrees with your choice of leads. Because two teams are involved, the check and balance system has proven very effective at helping both departments work together.

When measuring SQL, use an acceptance rate to measure your efficiency. Your acceptance rate is the number of leads that reach the MQL stage divided by the number of leads that make it to the SQL stage. The closer you are to 100 percent, the better.

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How to establish your first SQL report

Your SQL report uses some of the same data as your MQL report, but it can be a bit tricky to set up because it is dependent on data from sales. Here are the steps involved in setting up this report:

  1. Figure out how many people make it to SQL over a period of time, and calculate the cost of generating each lead in the SQL stage.

  2. Choose a field to use for tracking SQL in your CRM.

    It is suggested you use Lead Stage as the field for passing MQLs and asking sales to change the Lead Stage field from MQL to SQL. Use an automation rule. That way, when a lead is marked as sales ready, the Lead Stage field is also marked as MQL.

    This setup passes the leads to the CRM for the sales team to easily filter on, and then changes the field to SQL after salespeople accept the leads. The following is a lead being marked MQL and SQL.

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  3. Measure lead flow into the SQL stage.

    If your tool has this report out of the box, you do not need to do anything. If it doesn’t, you need to create a custom list or segmentation to keep up with this for you.

    You also need the ability to see the number of leads marked SQL over a period of time. A basic list with a Sort by Date field is fine. Creating this list is an easy automation or segmentation that looks at a custom field in your CRM Lead Stage field and puts these people on a list.

  4. Measure your costs.

    You have two ways to measure costs: simple and advanced. The simple way to calculate your ROI is to take your marketing budget over a period of time and divide it by your SQL number.

    For a more accurate representation of your direct results from specific actions, taking into account the time it takes for those results to yield results, you need to use a rolling average of costs over a period of time.

    For example, if you want to track how much it cost you to produce all SQL leads in Q1, and your average velocity of net new leads to SQL is 33 days (MQL average time plus your SLA from sales), you need to account for your 30-day lag in results.

    So account for your costs beginning 30 days prior to Q1, and stop 30 days prior to the end of Q1. This is the money that generated the majority of the SQL leads.

  5. Measure time.

    Time is used as a part of the formula. Just pick the time frame over which you want to measure results. Quarterly, biannually, and annually are suggested.

The SQL lead reports show you how many leads you are passing to the sales team and how many they are accepting. Many SQL reports are just a continuation of the MQL reports. So, if you have MQL reports, copy them and tweak them to get your SQL reports.

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